What Are Red Holidays In Korea?

If you’re living in Korea and desperately need to know when your next day off is (or you just want to learn more about Korean culture) this article is the one for you.

Korea has a handful of holidays but there is a difference between public and national holidays – not to mention the ones your company or government employees actually recognize in regards to taking time off.

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So, what are red day holidays in Korea? First of all, the holidays are referred to as “Red Days” due to the color marked on the calenders in Korea. Red Days represent public holidays. Some companies do not follow these standards so do not expect to always have a day off on a red day – especially if you work for camps, certain hagwons, or even jobs in cafes, restaurants, museums and galleries, delivery, and the entertainment or news industry. So you can happily enjoy such related services but it is still sad to see anyone working during a holiday. Trust me, I worked on Christmas Eve and day like it was nothing (with no overtime or holiday pay), and I’ve seen plenty of cafes and restaurants living it out like a normal day – welcome to Korea.

Now, let’s jump to the good stuff – the list of holidays in Korea. Most of these dates are based on the 2019 and 2020 calendar (around the time this was written) so you can expect the dates to pop up around this time. However, if you want accurate and updated calender and holiday info please check HERE.

  • New Year’s Day – Jan. 1st

  • Korean New Year’s Day (Lunar New Year/Seollal) – Between Jan 21st – Feb 20th

  • March 1st Movement (Independence Day) – Mar. 1st

  • Arbor Day (Earth Day) – April 5th (Not a red day but good to know^^)

  • Labor Day – May 1st

  • Children’s Day – May 5th 

  • Parent’s Day – May 8th

  • Buddha’s Birthday – May 12th

  • Teacher’s Day – May 15th 

  • Memorial Day – June6th 

  • Constitution Day – July 17th

  • Liberation Day – Aug. 15th

  • Chuseok (Harvest Festival Day) – Sep. 12th – 14th

  • National Foundation Day – Oct. 3rd

  • Hangul Day – Oct. 9th

  • Christmas – Dec. 25th 

Usually, if the dates of Seollal, Chuseok, or Children’s Day fall on a Sunday, it will be extended and recognized on Monday. Be sure to check with any company in advance as some holidays may fall on a Saturday and not be given time off on the Friday before or the following Monday.

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Now that you have some knowledge of the holidays and their dates, you can start marking off your calendar or making a schedule optimal for receiving the best holiday times! Also, in Korea, people often book time off alongside these vacations so be sure to do so at least 4 or 6 months in advance if possible so Korean co-workers and savvy foreigners don’t leave you stuck on the night shift on New Year’s Day.

Don’t forget to also book your transportation in advance so you do not overpay for tickets or a book a vacation you have no chance of traveling to due to booked flights and trains. Don’t forget to check and apply for the appropriate visas if you’re traveling to China or Thailand for example. Double-check and make sure there are no re-entry visa laws that can affect your travel too! Happy vacationing~

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